Defend Truth


A hail of Russian missiles — and the birthday of Ukraine’s iconic poet


Liubov Abravitova is the Ambassador of Ukraine to South Africa.

They fired those missiles from the land, planes and from their ships. They flew drones and balloons, they flew planes specifically equipped to distract our air defence system.

Have I ever told you about a very famous 1942 Soviet song about Nazi Germany’s invasion of Ukraine? It is called Blue Handkerchief, with a very beautiful melody written in 1939 by the Polish conductor and composer Jerzy Petersburski.

It was, and to an extent, still is, one of the most recognisable songs on our part of the continent. That was one of the most horrifying days in Kyiv’s history. Well, right until Russia’s Nazism blossomed.

The song of Nazi Germany attacking and killing peaceful Ukrainians sprinted back into our lives on the very early morning of 24 February 2022 when Russian terrorists were bombing sleeping Kyiv. The lyrics go as follows:

“On June 22, precisely at 4am
Kyiv was bombed and we have been told that the war has begun”

Just like Nazi Germany did, Russia bombed Kyiv at early dawn. Ukraine was sleeping, and people in their beds were about to find out that the evil unleashed on their land had only one purpose: the genocide of the Ukrainian people.

Now, more than a year later, this exact purpose is clearer than ever. And the tactic to attack cities at night to kill and destroy as much as possible seems to be Russia’s favourite.

Putin and his murderous hordes aren’t getting their way, so they are screaming on their state TV channels: “Kill all of them! Burn and drown their children! Launch a nuclear attack!”

Terrorists and murderers sense their own demise and attack everything around them before they die. Their desperation shows — their latest massive nighttime attacks are yet another proof of their endless war crimes.

A few days ago, Russian terrorists yet again attacked the territory of Ukraine all night. They started missile and drone attacks at about 1am and were bombing civilians and civilian infrastructure up until 8am.

Throughout the night, Russia fired 81 missiles at our land. We lost innocent lives that night, including a child.

They fired those missiles from the land, planes and from their ships. They flew drones and balloons, they flew planes specifically equipped to distract our air defence system. They made numerous false missile launches.

The 81 missiles included:

  • 28 Kh-101/Kh-555 air-based cruise missiles;
  • 20 Kalibr sea-based cruise missiles;
  • Six Kh-22 air-based cruise missiles;
  • Six Kh-47 Kinzhal air-based cruise missiles;
  • Eight guided air missiles: two Kh-31P missiles and six Kh-59 missiles; and
  • 13 S-300 anti-aircraft guided missiles.

In addition, eight Shahed-136/131 attack drones were launched.

We could not intercept almost 30 of them — our armed forces simply do not have the means capable of destroying the Kh-22, Kh-47 Kinzhal and S-300 missiles. Those six Kinzhal (Dagger) missiles were used at once for the first time. It is a nuclear-capable hypersonic air-launched ballistic missile. Unfortunately, we don’t have any way to protect ourselves from these missiles.

Colonel Yurii Ihnat, the spokesperson of the Ukrainian Air Force, stated: “The enemy used a wide range of weapons. Why is this being done? To distract the attention of air defence. From all directions, in fact, from three seas — Black, Azov and Caspian — various types of aircraft and ships of the Black Sea Fleet of the Russian Federation attacked Ukraine.”

It is pure terrorism and they should pay dearly for all of their war crimes, and crimes against humanity. They have now begun to threaten Moldova and Georgia.

With their perverted love for symbolic dates, Russia’s mass missile strikes on the Ukrainian civilian infrastructure and civilians, leaving at least five dead, took place in the first hour of 9 March — the birthday of Taras Shevchenko.

Shevchenko, our great poet, writer, artist and public and political figure, is an iconic symbol of Ukraine, our national hero, inspiration and often a symbol of our resistance and perseverance.

So, I’m going to end our weekly meeting here with just a few lines from his lyrics and his unparalleled wisdom:

And on renewed holy land
Will be no enemy, no traitor,
But rather will be son and mother,
And people will be on the land.


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